Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Creative Factor at Toy Fair

It doesn’t seem possible that Toy Fair ’09 was two weeks ago. Now we should be back to whatever it is we do; inventing, prototyping, pitching, promoting, maybe even planning for Toy Fair 2010. Well, if we can’t deal with time chunks that far into the future, maybe the readying is for the June Licensing Show in Las Vegas or the October Dallas Show or another industry event on the horizon. One thing about the toy and game business, there is always someone available to hear a pitch or a show to attend somewhere. So noodle away, pitch your ideas, maintain your contacts, and by all means keep the industry bustling.

Here's one of the industry's best "bustlers". If you don't
know him you should . . . Kevin McNulty Endless Games

Co-author Richard Levy and I energized SRO crowds at our two Creative Factor sessions as part of a TIA education program.

SRO - Standing Room Only:-) Next year we'll do MSG -Madison Square
Garden- so there's room for all!

Our assigned topics were “invention” and “licensing” which we covered by extrapolating facts and stories from the pages of our Toy and Game Inventors Handbook. We did our best to give empirical, non-theoretical, eye-opening, practical advice from what has been called “the bible” of the industry on its subject. Actually, when we wrote the book, we compiled the insights of many industry leaders. Some of these people have played musical chairs since our pub date, but their words still resonate with currency as if their thoughts were expressed during Toy Fair 2009.

To set the tone in the Creative Factor sessions, we used such tidbits from the hundreds in the Handbook as:
“The success, the innovation, and the personality of the industry is best exemplified by the independent inventor. The creative inventor serves as a constant reminder that the business is about finding fun for kids and playing Santa Claus for America.”
Bob Moog, President of University Games
Ted Wolfe, long time inventor, saw an inventor’s role as
“adapting previously known devices to previously unknown products. Inventors do not speak only of original or innovative. Recombining is an acknowledged skill of the toy pro.”
Right on Ted! Seems that has happened all too frequently with the advent of “brandwashing” in our industry; a new face (media license) on an old item.

Talk about pizzazz! Here is the marketing maven and shtikmeister with his partner(s).
"Given equally good concepts, the inventor with pizzazz, passion, showmanship and a well thought out presentation will have the edge that could make the difference in a company taking or passing on an item."
Mike Hirtle, Hasbro, Global Vice President of Product Acquisitions
“Inventors should embrace the myriad opportunities entertainment licenses provide. Rather than being locked out by inactivity, I encourage inventors to see licenses as a major opportunity and create innovative product for these brands.”
Roger Shiffman, founder and president of ZIZZLE
Richard and I could not cover all aspects of invention and licensing in our two hours at Toy Fair or even in our 470 page “Toy and Game Inventor’s Handbook.” Being current and active in the business is all about gathering information, knowing the industry, identifying trends, and applying your own personal magic to what you learn each day so you are a creative force in the race to Toy Fair 2010. See you there.

One or both of us will see you next year!


  1. Hello Ron!

    We are inventors from Australia and we have been trying to contact you.

    We have invented a new deck of playing cards with over 20 games.

    We would dearly value your professional opinion and evaluation of our product and are prepared to pay for your services.

    Please email us at

    Looking forward to hearing back from you.

    Best Regards

    James Findlay & Carolyn Hammond

  2. Parents know that if the toys are not appealing to their child then the toy will likely sit on a shelf. Finding Creative toys, high quality learning toys that stimulate the children's development but are fun to play with is essential.